12 March 2006

Avalanches Bury People


Click on the title to discover a sweet little Op-ed column in yesterday's Times, or read quickie (biased) synopsis below:

Better equipment and safety gear gets folks higher up in the mountains to ski and snowboard and makes them less afraid of avalanches. More people die in avalanches, killed by their own hubris. This is bad.

And yes, it's tragic, really, when people die because they see what they want to see (I have all the equipment I need to make it to the top and so I see the top and I will go there) or get in over their heads (I have all the equipment I need to make it to the top and am an expert at this, so I will beat nature every time), and stop listening to the mountain. For that matter, it's especially dismal that these people are just out having a good time. Getting killed by nature in the bat of an eye... that's so big. So Shackelton. So Donner Party.

We think technology makes us so great. Come to find most of us do not need and cannot handle the kind of agency technology delivers. The snowboard giveth and the snowboard taketh away. And this is a sculptural idea.

Ack, the first "what is sculpture" post... I am uncharacteristically shy all of a sudden--I need to just plunge in. It will all become clear as time passes. This avalanche scenario is a great explaining metaphor. The sculptor is the jackass snowboarding past the safe zone. Newtonian physics is the snow-covered ground that could avalanche. The sculptor's job is to get as far out of the safety zone as possible without getting buried in the avalanche. Discuss.

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